by Scott Savage, cast member
[Note from the dramaturg: As mentioned previously, the cast of The Nightingale had the unique opportunity to travel to China and train with the Peking Opera. While in China, they had the opportunity to learn theatre movement, costuming, makeup and vocal techniques while also experiencing the culture, so they could better understand the world of the play. The next couple of posts will be from cast members sharing their experiences. Enjoy!]
June 14, 2013
Today was more busy and wow, I love the people with the Peking Opera. I don’t know if it can be said enough, but they’re just so great. We met the quintessential Asian man (the costume designer for the Peking Opera). We had three parts of training today. The first was more lecture, that was really cool. It was about the costuming and make up. We got to learn great details, such as the roles of Phoenix and Dragon in the Chinese culture, the colors, more about the roles of Sheng, Dan, Jing and Chou. We saw how the costumes were put together, and really, they just come together so well.
The afternoon we had training where we broke up into groups. Clayton, Alecia and I were trained by a tall slender man to do the horse movement. I wasn’t sure how the movement and what we were being told the movement meant correlated at first, but it was really neat to see it come together. The movements all made sense, and we truly learned to ride a horse with nothing but our bodies and a stick. It was very cool to see the many things they did with simple props.
In the evening, we had the chance to show what we had learned and to dress up in the Peking opera style. We all got the makeup, the girls got to put on the hair, I got a crazy beard/mustache and the beautiful costumes were perfect.
We took group and individual pictures and then we exchanged gifts with our teachers and the performers. They gave us shirts and we gave them gifts from BYU. They were fantastic, and I hope to see them again someday.
A couple other fun notes from the past two days. Clayton hadn’t shaved so his make-up made him look like a drag queen, we all laughed about that. We ate McDonald’s in China. Shame on us, but the ice cream was great.
I love the tiny motorized carts everywhere. Traffic is nuts. Pollution is nuts. I hate the indoor smoking. Squatty Potty’s are weird. People come up to us just to take our picture. I feel very at home in China. I’m not sure if that’s because it doesn’t feel like I’m really gone, or if it’s because I feel like I could survive in the culture with the language here.